Consumers alter budgets to accommodate ‘nice-to-have’ purchases

British shoppers have made adjustments to their budgets in order to splash out on non-essential items, new figures have revealed.

Consumer spending growth for February saw a minor increase of 3.8% year-on-year as a result of consumers altering their spending habits to accommodate ‘nice-to-have’ items.

Data from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows Brexit continues to be a cause for concern, with half of consumers (50%) worrying that the outcome of negotiations will leave them worse off than they are now.

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Barclaycard also found that consumers remain downbeat about their current spending power, with only half (54%) feeling confident in their household finances, in line with January’s lacklustre levels.

A further 39% of Brits report they have less money to spend now than they did this time last year. Of these, 67% say it is because their weekly shop seems more expensive than it used to be.

Paul Lockstone, managing director at Barclaycard, said: “This is the third consecutive month that we’ve seen household spending growth above the prevailing rate of inflation suggesting that, while consumers remain cautious about their household finances, they continue to strike a balance between spending on essentials and on luxuries, whether that’s a holiday abroad or tickets for the latest blockbuster.

“With a year to go before Brexit, consumers are cautious about the potential ramifications of whatever settlement the UK achieves, and half of us fear that the outcome will leave us worse off than we are now. As negotiations continue it’s likely that this will continue to weigh on sentiment.”

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